Specimen role description for the charity secretary of the board of trustees (Northern Ireland)

A specimen role description detailing the responsibilities and functions of a charity secretary working for a charity operating in Northern Ireland. An introduction to the role of the charity secretary and the functions they should perform to assist charity trustees and help embed good governance within a charity.

Of interest to those involved in charity governance.


This CGIUKI guidance note is aimed at trustees in Northern Ireland and can be adapted for any size of charity to reflect good practice for each organisation’s needs. This document, and others in the series, should provide sufficient detail for trustees, and others interested in governance, to think about the governance arrangements within their own charity, and apply those aspects of good practice that are most appropriate and proportionate. It is good practice for each charity to undertake a periodic review of their governance arrangements as the charity evolves, and where appropriate, amend policies, procedures, and the governing document to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and are structured in the most effective way to meet the charity’s objects.

Purpose of this guidance

There are many different terms used for the position of ‘charity secretary’, including company secretary/governance professional, clerk to the board/governors/trustees, or simply the secretary. For the purpose of this guidance note and others in the series we will use the term ‘charity secretary’ to refer to the primary role of the governance and compliance professional supporting the board of trustees. Prior to the Companies Act 2006, company law required that all private companies limited by guarantee had to appoint a company secretary (a paid or unpaid position). Under the Companies Act 2006, from April 2008 new companies are no longer required to have a company secretary, but it does remain an option for those organisations wishing to appoint one. In most situations it is advisable that a separate and discrete position of the charity secretary is retained in order to ensure the highest standards of good governance and compliance (see below).

This document includes:

  • Role of the charity secretary  

  • The independence of the charity secretary

  • Specimen job description for a charity secretary

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